It has been just over 12 months since we began our response to COVID-19. Fifty-three weeks ago, I sent out a phone tree detailing the first precautions we were planning for the upcoming worship service. Little did we know that Sunday would be the last time for quite a while where we could gather for on-site worship. At that time, we had no idea how substantial the impact of this pandemic would be on our congregation and our community. Now a year later, I am happy to share some positive news with you!
First off, I want to thank you for your continued support of the church. Your prayers, patience, and continued financial support have made it possible to weather this challenge and remain in good financial shape. In 2020 we applied for and received the first PPP grant. The nearly $11,000 we received allowed us to continue to pay all our staff salaries throughout the months of shutdown. Furthermore, we applied for and were awarded forgiveness for that loan. In other words, we received almost $11,000 to “keep the lights on.”
What is more moving, from my perspective, is that our giving did not see a significant decrease during those trying months. You kept supporting the church with your contributions. You remained faithful. And, for that, I do not have adequate words to express my gratitude and thankfulness! It shows that even in the most trying times, the community of faith we are building together here at Marshfield Christian is essential.
But that’s not the only good news I have to share. Because of the vaccine roll-out and significant decrease in active cases in Webster county, we will be relaxing our mask requirement just in time for Easter. Beginning with the worship service on April 4th, we will not require you to wear a mask during the worship service. We still ask that you wear a mask when you come to on-site worship, but once you are seated and socially distanced, you are welcome to remove your mask if you would like. We will continue to ask you to “mask up” as you prepare to leave worship. Wearing a mask when we are visiting with one another and passing one another as we come and go continues our care for one another. We are not “out of the woods” just yet. But I hope we can take another step or two toward finding our “new normal” as summer approaches. We will continue to offer a live stream of the entire worship service if you are not comfortable returning to on-site worship. And you are always welcome to remain masked throughout worship if you so desire.
As summer approaches, we will be looking for ways to reconnect with one another in safe fellowship events. One of the first of these will happen around the 5th of June. We will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of my installation as the pastor here at Marshfield Christian. As I think back over these last 15 years, I am filled with love for all the ministry we have been able to do together and the lives we have touched as a community of faith. I also find myself looking forward to what the future holds for us as well.
This last year has been challenging, but I am excited about what God is doing in our community of faith. And I am looking forward to listening for God’s leading as we continue to work toward bringing wholeness and healing in a broken and hurting world. Thank you all for your continued support and dedication as we journey together with God.